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J Infect Dis. 2011 Feb 15;203(4):464-72. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiq072. Epub 2011 Jan 7.

Marked reduction in prevalence of malaria parasitemia and anemia in HIV-infected pregnant women taking cotrimoxazole with or without sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine intermittent preventive therapy during pregnancy in Malawi.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.



Effectiveness of cotrimoxazole (CTX) compared with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) intermittent-preventive-therapy (IPTp) for malaria in HIV-infected pregnant women is unknown. We examined effectiveness of CTX with or without SP-IPTp versus SP-IPTp at reducing malaria parasitemia and anemia.


From 2005 to 2009, we conducted a cross-sectional study of HIV-infected pregnant women at Thyolo Hospital, Malawi. Blood was tested for malaria parasitemia and anemia (hemoglobin<11 g/dl). Data were collected on use of anti-malaria interventions and other risk factors. CTX prophylaxis policy for HIV-infected pregnant women was introduced in 2007, but implementation problems resulted in some women receiving both CTX and SP-IPTp.


We enrolled 1,142 women, of whom 1,121 had data on CTX and/or SP-IPTp intake. Of these, 49.7%, 29.8%, and 15.4% reported taking SP-IPTp only, CTX only and SP-IPTp plus CTX, respectively. Compared with women taking SP-IPTp, those taking SP-IPTp plus CTX and CTX were less likely to have malaria parasitemia (OR, [95%CI]: 0.09, [0.01-0.66] and 0.43, [0.19-0.97], respectively) or anemia (PR, [95% CI]: 0.67, [0.54-0.83] and 0.72, [0.61-0.83], respectively).


In HIV-infected pregnant women, daily CTX was associated with reduced malaria parasitemia and anemia compared with SP-IPTp. CTX plus SP-IPTp was associated with further reduction in malaria parasitemia but toxicity was not fully assessed.

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